on the last year of life. so when you consider that people may be on medicare for 20 or 30 years that's an extraordinary and balance and it shows something something is naturally wrong with her decision-making with the end-of-life. >> host: this is a preview of katy butler's new books "knocking on heaven's door" the path to a better way of death. you are watching booktv on c-span2. former pentecostal preacher turned atheist jerry dewitt recalls his loss of faith in the subsequent termination of his relationship with his wife
friend and parishioners into ridder louisiana. this is about an hour. >> it's a pleasure to be with you and i can't give a high enough or strong enough appreciation for the great turnout. thank you. you have been with me from the very beginning. you have shown me great kindness and i'll wouldn't have talked about it much longer for me to tear up so thank you. every day i am amazed, amazed at how many things that were lost and it seems like truly everyday people like yourselves are stepping up to replace all of those little lost trinkets throughout my life that i have collect did so thank you for that.
so give yourselves a round of applause for that please. [applause] so i'm going to try to read rather quickly. you have your bibles with you. [laughter] i don't know if i have read in public without having to say that so bear with me. if you know anything about me and you should know probably more than you want to if you have read the book, you will know that i'm not the world's best reader and probably the world's worst speller. i was the child sitting in the third-grade classroom that whenever it would be our duty that day to read, i would literally count the paragraphs on the page and count the seats in front of me. anybody else ever did that? just so that i could practice that one paragraph over and over again. so i'm going to read this but instead of reading it as if i was sitting in the classroom trying to get through it, instead i'm going to read from my heart.
if that sounds a little different sometimes and maybe how you read it then that's okay. does that make sense to everybody? i am starting on page 179 if you want to follow along. had to keep in mind that i was desperately trying to believe, desperately trying to stay in faith. i had spent many many years as an evangelist and i had seen what i believe the power of god being demonstrated in these services, these were viable services as we called them. so when i found out a faith healer was coming to our town or a nearby town, my heart jumped. it was an opportunity for me to maybe relive that same experience, that same level of god's closeness and i was desperate. when i drove into that parking lot that night there was nothing that i wanted more in my life
than to feel the same feelings i had felt in the past. so that is where we picked up. it didn't work that way. the disappointment brother appears brought back the dull hum of doubt in my mind. brother pierce's revival had failed to rekindle the feelings of intimacy with god that i felt during my early evangelist days. now i felt completely disenfranchised from their relationship with god that i have held very dearly. i had laid down my life for my personal relationship with jesus christ. until then, even as i had growing doubts on religion and the pentecostal doctrine those doubts have no role of nation. even the loss of confidence in the divine nature the bible had not affected my relationship with jesus. which i compartmentalized. no matter where i was in my spiritual life jesus was a constant companion.
i continually sensed his presence. it was easy to close my eyes and visually imagine jesus being their and listening to me. to see jesus hands and things that did or didn't work out are filled with the holy ghost and goosebumps like a breeze coming across physically internally. eight confirmation of jesus as tangible permanent presence in my life. with the panic attacks and the understanding of the nervous system on my perception of reality that special personal relationship with jesus was finally challenged. it was a step too far in my reassessment of my faith. i realized i had drawn a circle around my relationship with jesus. it was like a crime scene tape and area that no one could enter. as i grew older and more
skeptical, by internally debated the authorship of the bible the fallacies of man-made religion and question the supernaturalism of the healing ministry like brother pearson's but until that moment my relationship with jesus had been untouchable. i was truly lost and i remember thinking, this is what a lost person must feel like. thank you. [applause] you can clap. i like clapping. trust me, you never clap too much for me. the more the better. so, as many of you who know my story you know that i dealt with that and i moved on and i tried to completely reframe my appreciation of christianity and christian doctrines and how i could make it work. i've began to teach christianity
and the teachings of the bible. when i became the senior pastor of the first church that i truly had complete control and responsibility over to have been a pastor has control over a church, i tried to address christianity from that perspective as if doctrine as if the bible itself was simply a metaphor but metaphor used in a way to benefit people. so picking up on the story, referring to my time -- my congregation's skepticism mixed with a reluctant tolerance to my messages at grace was an exceedingly delicate allen's that would not hold. when katrina hit the gulf coast in august of 2005 and the floodwaters submerged much of new orleans soon afterward i turned my energies towards working with the mayor to open a relief center in town. early that fall a relationship
grew to nearly 100 members and pat are building. i provided food and prayer to a steady stream of katrina refugees. a decision that upset a faction of the dominion is at grace. many nests are extremely conservative christians inspired by a well-known passage of the new testament in which god commands adam and eve to have dominion over the earth and they are infamous for advocating stoning as a punishment. for example while others for frawley await armageddon to many nests at grace who believe that they were engaged in spiritual warfare with nonbelievers and those of insufficient doubt katrina was the judgment.
the surest sign that armageddon was to come. at its core the interpretation of katrina's storm dominated and demonstrated that if you are not living right by god that he will refuse to protect you. of course that clashed with my message that god loves everyone. i didn't confront the dominionists directly instead choosing to minister to the sick and hungry who were refugees from new orleans but instead i fumed at the faction at grace. katrina was not about god's judgment. it was about the storm that started in the low pressure zone that slowly dangerously grew to a tropical wave of low pressure. katrina had a natural cause not a supernatural one.
it flooded new orleans and its citizenry and called them to go into exile was simply the catastrophic levee system that had been constructed by human hands. besides, i believed that what we did to help those affected by the storm and not why the storm or destruction happened was what mattered. mike katrina era messages were just plainly positive. i preach that the storm was a moment to prove to god just how loving we could be toward one another but the dominionists at grace were furious nevertheless. are you saying they chided me after sunday services that it doesn't matter how the people in new orleans lived? that they could be saved if they are alcoholic?
i was unflinching in my answer. yes, kyra played sternly. that is exactly what i am saying. the dominionists simply shook their head in disgust. even though i found a profound fulsome and in helping katrina refugees my clashed with the dominionists lends a feeling that the fall. i realize that many of the folks at grace held beliefs that were starkly diametrically different from my own. and i leaving this come gradation -- congregation i would be associated with ideas i did not share. there simply wasn't enough time to address every one of these wrong beliefs and by not taking their theology of the congregation they were going about the business of shaping their theology themselves by liberal and moderate qualities
had the unattended -- unintended effect of providing radical voices to create an atmosphere where like-minded voices could flourish. it was as if i did a scene in my front yard and a law all men are folks to stand by and rant. rent. the neighbors would say well if he felt that he must support what's going going on alabama. that is what was happening at grace. my open heart embraced each style was actually enabling bad spiritual habits for the people that i cared for the most. that's the cleanest and clearest explanation i can give a flying ministers who have moved away from their supernatural belief struggled with this duplicity. because as much as you want to get up and just preach that jesus loves everyone there is an entire religious industry that
is working against you. christian television, christian radio, christian literature is actually shaping the theology. that is usually where i say can i get it -- though one last one and we will get some questions. are we doing all right on-time? how does minister completely realize he is completely out of sync with his ministry? you'll have to pardon me because the part about the dominionist is one of the hardest parts for me. i honestly don't like the word. it describes a theology that they were at hearing to. these were people that truly believed that what they were doing and what they believed was
making a positive difference not just for the lives of their families but for their country and they also loved me and i love them. and it made the distance between us almost unbearable. because if i could have somehow taken away all the things that i had grown to believe or not believe in order to stay in unison with them i would have done it. i trapped across the country never but he talks about oh you are such a hero. you are so brave he did this and you did that. the joke is you take every complement you can get. i love for people to tell me i'm a hero and how brave i have done but i'm telling you the truth. if i could have undone what i
was doing in my own mind and still been an honest person i would have done it. i loved them. if i could have somehow twisted it in my mind and made katrina to be something other than low pressure and warm water and somehow the part of the spiritual warfare i would have done it to save my fellowship of these people. that was one of the most difficult parts of the book for me. i never wanted to be separated from them but by this time i am. and just the slightest of -- is still in my life by now. but just after midnight on a steel cold night that may i was thrust back to the crisis of faith i've labored so hard to avoid. the roar of a fan in the corner of our bedroom and finally load
me to sleep in my cell phone which i just silence lit up rightly with an incoming call. as i reached over the antique rectangle shape wooden nightstand for my phone rested my heart raced. i would take dozens of late-night calls over my more than two decades in the ministry. i knew that good news never arrived at this time of night. when i focus my eyes on the phone i saw the name of the caller. it was that tasha davis who ran the soundboard at grace and that tasha was truly like a part of my family. i had answered her phone number into my phone under the name that tasha davis/do wit. though she stood at just barely 5 feet tall we lovingly nicknamed her are little -- her huge smile quickwittedness and willingness to -- from
everything from the sound system to the youth group made her and presence in her church. as the pastor of a small church like grace anyone who wants to help is appreciated but is strong talent spirit like natasha is an absolute treasure. that tasha i listened when i picked up the phone so as not to wake kelly. yes even though she barely said a word i could tell she was already in tears. i slipped my shoes on and headed down the staircase walked silently through the foyer and into the tiny bathroom our guest bedroom to let kelly continue sleeping. i stood uncomfortably between the baby blue bathtub in the bathroom sink which was eliminated -- illuminated by a strip of lightbulbs which resembled the tacky backroom
dressing -- backstage dressing room. as i stated myself at the sink that tasha told me that her brother had been severely injured in a motorcycle accident natasha tearfully explained the er physician and failed to revive her brother and specialist that were on their way. listening to her i envisioned her standing outside the hospital having reached that moment we have all journeyed to in our lives when it increased to nurses and doctors about a loved one's health have been make sauce that and our ability to make the situation any better is depleted. it's at that moment when you call your pastor in hopes of ringing gods grace and perhaps a resolution to a moment that is deadly speaking towards tragedy. to pray that she was able to do
the right thing and to not lose it to mr. family's tragedy. that tasha did not say any of this. she didn't even say will you pray for me. she didn't have to. any pastor worth his salt wouldn't let the conversation go that far. the second an anguished call our rides it is the pastor's job to pray. it's just like when a friend or family member and initiates a hog or embrace it that's understood an instinctuinstinctu al between two people who care for one another for asking for a a hug renders it meaningless. i had no doubt in my mind what my role was as i listen to natasha's tearful telling of her brother's motorcycle wreck every second that went by without my prayer for natasha's brother
felt like an eternity. a profound span of time when that tasha one of the most beloved members of my former congregation was left hopeless and without spiritual reassurance. she said desperately and brightly crave. i struggle to pray because all that complex which i resolved time and time again through my motivation to remain in the ministry suddenly fused into an awareness. that there was no god. but i could not pray for natasha because i love her so deeply and could not bear setting her up for the kind of crushing disappointment i had witnessed with bobby and uncle of mine who went through a horrible tragedy. i had witnessed with grover and
bobby's unanswered prayer over my cousin gary for my own prayers for larry's brother. if i prayed for natasha and her brother didn't make it it wouldn't be me who had disappointed her. it would be god who let her down. i didn't want to initiate in natasha the long and painful journey of doubt that i had experienced. for the first time i started to reason. natasha is said it sounds like everyone at the hospital is doing everything they can pick your brother is a young man and the strongman. they are bringing in in special is so we'll just have to wait this out and see what happens. but natasha i'm telling you it sounds like he's going to be all right. natasha thinks me for taking the calls late at night and for the ink urging words. then just before we made our goodbyes natasha said keep him
in your prayers. i pause for a moment and replied of course natasha, of course. when i hung up the phone i was heartbroken. i knew i'd deeply disappointed natasha and i realized at that moment if i could not pray for a person who is so near and dear to me that my train of returning to the ministry was over. i had given up on preaching believe it or not. for the ministry remained a far off remote possibility. now there was no ministry left. i stared into the bathroom mirror. i was in tears. i angrily said to myself who the hell are you? it was done. it was over. i couldn't continue into
thinking that one day i would find some form of christianity or christian ministry to participate in. i've bounced from denomination to denomination from the liberal bible interpretation gin to the christian metaphor and i finally reach the conclusion. i was looking at it atheists standing there looking in the mirror. it was a painful realization that the next moments literally to us for my soul apart. i said final goodbyes to my loved ones to my cousin gary my grandfather and my father. i think that's as far as i can go. thank you. a pause of so is it time for questions and answers? come around.
are you coming over this way? does anyone have any questions? do you mind making your way to the microphone? you are going to be on camera regardless. >> i was curious what you made it an experience you recounted in the earlier part of your book when you you were still believing and still practicing. you talked about some very eerie psychic experiences like knowing what hospital someone within who needed praying over and even finding the room they were in. what do you make out of that kind of experience now? >> that's a very good question. what he is referring to in the book i tell the story of a pastors relative who is suffering from an aneurysm and i felt in those days i felt led by
god to go on pray for that person. i did my judge's pray. i wanted to see that person healed and that was a big thing. i was wrestling with this concept and might tend to costal doctrine at the time that if i could get the mind of god i would more than just pray. i would actually have god's confirmation of who is going to heal this person. i if i knew that god could heal the person then i wouldn't go pray. i felt the reason there were so many unanswered prayers because we were praying for things that were outside of the will of god so i prayed all night long. all night long i prayed asking to confirm to me whether he would heal this person and what i felt at the time that was the vision was a confirmation to do so. the problem was they didn't know enough information about the young lady to track down what hospital she was in or the room
she was in. this was a minister that i knew vaguely so the only thing i did know was that the person who told me about this woman actually told me the town that the lady was in. the next day my wife and i got in our ford or do it with saber and drove to that town, got a very large town. we drove there not knowing what hospital and from the interstate on an overpass i saw the hospital. i felt in my mind at that time and magnetic pull to that hospital. so we pulled in the parking lot came in through the parking lot found the elevator and got into the elevators. i just press a button and to this day i still don't remember which florida press. we came out on the floor filled with nate nurses and patients. we walked down the corridor. we would meet an intersection and i would simply pray and try to get a feel for which direction god was leading. i would feel it magnetic
something internally pulling me. i would take that pathway and eventually it led to a dead end. where i felt like a complete imbecile. but instead i went ahead and pushed open the door and i pushed open the door. there was the pastor with the relative lying in the bed. to me it was a fulfillment of the confirmation that i've gotten the night before so instead of walking in and saying a prayer like god would you please heal this person contact i looked at this almost lifeless body and i said in the name of jesus christ be healed. a few days later she was out of the hospital. so this gets people. they are like why did you write that book? it sounds like you have got more proof than most people that god exists. this is the power of coincidence
because i don't remember all of the times that i felt like god led me down a pathway that ended the being a true dead end but i definitely remember this one very this was a hit and not a miss and part of our human psychology of course courses to remember the hits and not the misses. this was a date hit and it was really awesome and wonderful and beautiful story and i'm really glad that it turned out the way it did. the reality of it is it really was a profound coincidence. that is why we remember it. that is what i contributed to, that it was a coincidence. don't be shy. yes, sir please. >> what is interesting in you coming up is that we pay so much of our life and life's decisions on --
[inaudible] go to the bar and sit on the barstool in the first person that walks up you say god sent them into your life in three years later you know it's the devil who sent them instead. [laughter] >> this question is in the same vein because when i first, the first part of your book i do know how you are going to dig your way out and also the voices you heard. the messages from god that affected you and you heard them. you said you heard them and i think you even saw, you had a vision for something like that. i kept waiting for you to explain that and then you kind of say something like anxiety attacks, neurological what do you still remember the actual things that happened to you and how to explain that? >> as far as receiving messages? hearing the voice of god. in particular that one time we talk about in the book where i
truly believe that i had heard the voice of god. there were a lot of times throughout my life that to meet the voice of god was an internal five. it was a very loud lot in my mind trade in the book we did talk about where i heard the voice of god and where i thought i heard the voice of god with my own ears. whenever you read the book you are with me through that whole story and you know by the time that moment happened life is about as messed up as life can be. i wouldn't hold it against the trailer. it was a great trailer but you're exactly right. i was in my mother's mobile home but i really believed that i was completely emotionally exhausted i think whenever system was a complete and total wreck. i think i was so desperate for direction and from the very moment -- what you are relaying is i had been asked to move and
i was praying to keep god's direction. looking back on it now i could tell that the moment i was asked i thought i should do it. but i didn't want to do it he or were so many parts of me that did not want to make that commitment, didn't want to leave my family and didn't want to go through all the pain and struggle you go through moving that far. there is another part of me a strong part of me that knew i was supposed to do so by the time i get to that weakened state emotionally and physically i think it was just, i think it was like a hallucination. that was the reason why it was so much louder in clear than all the strong impressions that i had had. as far as reading the bible and feeling as if i was hearing messages from god as far as the way my speeches or my messages should be laid out i think i was just naturally incredibly
clever. [laughter] not a good reader but i think i'm good at finding messages. >> do you still speak in tongues? could you do that? >> no. >> oh,, on. >> that is going to villa bigots out when i can do that. i can do it as long as my grandmother is alive. definitely, i definitely could and i have since coming to the conclusion coming to the realization that i meant atheist and that is something i always try to point out any time i have the public's attention. atheism is not a choice. it's a realization that you discover about yourself. so even since then i am still able to do it. it happened spontaneously obviously because i don't set out in the evening to speak in tongues but i have had very emotional moments writing down
the interstate with the music just exactly right having an extremely pleasant thought and is just in their logical pathway. it's just, it just pops up. there you are and it's actually still very pleasurable. and less you're caught in public doing it. >> thanks. yes, sir. you said you were leaving earlier than that. >> so, my question is this. a lot of people they are tied to religious beliefs and they have just been brought up to think these things and it's very hard to get them to think about things logically and rationally, reasonably. so i've heard a lot of times and being african-american
african-americans are really tied to their religion. >> absolutely. >> for me, we are some of the most praying individuals i know and given all of the praying that we do you would think that our plight in america would different and it would have some favor of some sort but we do not trade my question is this. how do you replace because i think with african-americans and not necessarily just african-americans, people who have a historical connection to their religious belief and it's been there for years. you are going to have to replace it with something. what are your thoughts about that? must it be replaced with something? i am a person who reasons. other people it's about patterns and they want to say those patterns or something religious. my question is what would we
want to replace him but would he need to replace it with so that people can let go of that? >> that's a very good question and for me there are two different parts to that. the first thing is i don't think we have to replace it. i think that is something we need to get very well-established within the secular community is the only reason we feel like we have to replace it is because it is such a long-standing part of our heritage. had their religion never been there in the first place we would have to figure out what to replace religion with. we would just be living a totally different kind of life. so i don't think we have to replace it but you can choose to replace it if we feel like we will benefit in some way to replace it. there are certain aspects of prayer that i'll think can be were placed because if you, when you pray you truly believe and
thus feel that you have the attention of an outsider who is going to work on your path whether he does it in the way that you want them to or not there is no way to replace that if you don't think there is someone outside of reality. so i think that just can't be done but if what prayer doing for you is centering you and putting you in a moment then there are many practices that we know from all types of cultures that works just as effectively as prayer does from our particular back down. i do it all the time. when i feel myself slipping into a rut and completely out of control whenever a place my hand on something new like the coldness of this metal i will bring my awareness to the fact
that i'm feeling the sensation and it brings me into the moment and many times prayer is able to bring you into the moment or make you feel -- and there's an on ending of ray. from a martial arts is -- and body. >> there are folks that are totally tied to religion and they are thinking something is going to bring them out of the situation. >> exact way. [inaudible] >> it allows people to get themselves and move themselves and doesn't allow them to be empowered. >> you are right. you are exactly right and what that is that as an archetype that exists within our culture right now so what we are doing
intentionally and unintentionally is creating a new arcade type. we are creating a type of person within our culture that does feel empowered personally empowered without putting their dependence upon anything supernatural. though that may be a slow way to get to where we are talking about going hopefully one of these days that will be, and that would -- people will feel empowered on their own. very good question, thank you. >> i actually have two questions. my first question is moving forward its obvious you are taking different steps so what is your vision for the secular community both in louisiana and in the large or arena and that my second question is what do you say when somebody sneezes? [laughter]
>> oh i feel like to get past it i probably ought to answer the second one first. someone sneezed next to me yesterday and it took everything i could do not to say god bless you. and the only reason that i don't say god bless you is because of how mad it makes other people other atheists. i don't have a problem with saying god bless you because i just see it as words. i know some people do and that's fine but i know especially coming from the deep south, i know that for 43 years when someone sneezed near me and i said god loves you i know what i meant and i know what i didn't mean and what i didn't mean but as may you always give you a dockable harvest. i truly didn't mean for jehovah to bless him. it was just culture so i used that to segue into the first question.
did i politically avoid that well enough? to me this is about culture and my vision is about culture. i'm going to get in so much trouble. i always do. obviously it wouldn't be a book if i avoided trouble i guess. there are just so many things that parts of the secular movement tend to be worried or offended about. some of them i consider to be truly cultural and i don't see winning a positive future. this is rare i am really going to get in trouble but what do i have to lose, right? i don't see winning for our side i don't see winning as the annihilation of religion. i don't. what i would like to see is for us to develop a culture where people can be comfortable being cultural christians just like they are cultural everything else were they stopped taking it seriously where it's just part of their heritage and part of what they do at christmas or
thanksgiving and they are not trying to vote in politicians who then enforced policy so we'll have to do the same thing on thanksgiving and christmas. burgess becomes a cultural thing. remember the days when a really took all that stuff seriously? isn't it fun now that we can just whatever? so in order to answer your first question my vision is to work within the community and the culture that already exists within the community. so in charles louisiana -- charleston louisiana i've had people ask to start as secularists church. it gives people the shivers and it will for a lot of people because our desire isn't to create a new movement or do something extraordinary outside of the movement but just within the short year and a half that i have been involved in the secular movement i have realized this need was already existing for a very particular people
with very particular personalities. the way we will need it is by looking at what is culturally significant. does it matter to people for their families, but mom and the dead and the kids to be able to go unattended meeting on sunday morning? is that a cultural thing or set a world that leads to supernaturalism and armageddon? it may just be cultural for some of them so that is my vision is to figure out exactly what we'll meet the needs for people within the deep south culture? that is my vision. we have already found the mission chapel and louisiana and head are an odd girl service in baton rouge a couple of weeks ago and many of you were there and i appreciate it very much. i hope that answers it. [inaudible] >> that is a good question. unfortunately it's a tricky question because the question was where we going to meet in
late charles? what we are already finding is just this idea. the media of course frames it as as -- and there's no such thing as bad press. that's not the way we look at it. we look at it as a church service that focuses on secular values without any hint towards supernaturalism. the problem we are running into is that there is so much backlash within the lake charles community that it's difficult to find someone that we can pay our deposit to and know for a fact that they are going to let us come in and have service whenever all the protesters show up. so we are trying to work that out. we will have our first service in lake charles at the end of august. yeah so we will make sure -- hopefully they have good insurance.
[inaudible] >> yes config yes. i won't go as far as to say that it looks like a pentecostal service because that might be a little too much for everybody that it looks like a really fun that's his church service you know. i am always -- it's a pentecostal thing. i can't tell you how many have written to. we love the lord too. and i say not as much as we pentecostals do. there is music for instance in baton rouge we had just music playing in the background while everyone was fellowship thing and finding their place and it did open up with a dawkins video not a picture of him but with his voice in the background in this beautiful to wear through the solar system talking about how wonderful it is to be alive. that's the whole point. our culture is the absolute best
most particularly within the united states is of celebrating the moment and celebrating life trade we want to continue to do that and that is something a lot of our churches in the deep south are very good at is enjoying the moment and celebrating life area and it looks celebratory. we had fun music that people could sing along to which i think it's it is very important. a lot of times it goes to secular meetings and it it's set up like a concert where everyone is listening to somebody else. ..
the most lifelike person to live also growing up at the table with her personality i did not even as signals not even with the pentecostal doctors and i just knew we have that lifestyle to wear the long sleeves with no facial hair. but at the same time i watch my grandmother's without exception of everyone everyone was expected to our kitchen table so summer in the midst of being raised like that and my model for christ i naturally assumed that they were as they were they were accepted just as they were.
it really was to my surprise that 17 when i began to preach pentecostal doctrine paying attention to those messages i was hearing that was difficult to being saved. lost aziz lehigh lost was easy. i quickly realized that my heart was kinder than my doctor and. so i ferociously looked for doctrines that it supported biblically what happened since they are very easy to find. so then to see the sacrifice of christ so it the
universalism was very important these people were very important in the end and for those with of the bible it was so obvious this is one of those forest for the trees it is obvious that christianity doesn't work. it doesn't even make their personal life that much better. and i was egotistical lead zaph to figure it out.
then to bring back to the true message of jesus christ it is amazing to have this much ego in such a small body does not seem possible. >> i will repeat the question go ahead. >> [inaudible] >> there are some metal radiates this like recovering from religion. as much as we could do with the clergy project to meet people in a way that would not jeopardize your life at
all. i have received recently fantastic support from the foundation beyond belief so that is for people who are really interested in charitable activities even though now add a religion to contribute to interfaith charities trying to do good, the fantastic thing of the secular movement right now the fantastic thing about these different projects is that it is addressing a uniqueness of the individual but every so often in religion and it is cookie cutter in religion from my eighth experience it tries to shape you to what fits right now the secular movement is so broad regardless of your life or your belief you did find the resources to help.
it is amazing all the different resources. is the fantastic to connect to the humanist association there really is something for everybody. don't let me go now. i am enjoying it. any questions towards our process of writing the book? i have the co-writer here i would love to involve him. of course, we have the surgery project. how did we work together? take that. cover around. -- come around. >> we work together very
quickly. as maybe some of you know, was in the arts tythes house -- in the year times in august:dash august 2012 and got a number of book deal articles base of that article without one single sentence of writing and i told him how incredibly rare that is. if you are a person who believes in god for example,. [laughter] >> even better than the hospital story. >> vastly better to get those books offers about a single piece of writing is far beyond a hospital story. he received the offers looking for help to put this together because you had
dash administering and preaching but not writing books your whole life. we happen to have an agent in common and even though religion and atheism is not what i am known for at all all, our mutual agent put us together. mostly i think based on the fact we are down here. and of course, the catch was to get a book deal offers there is always something else the you have to sacrifice and given the high profile nature what the publisher wanted pretty much immediately. so we just set up through
stipe -- sky eighth to hit it out but what is so remarkable is so magnificent so great with words that the book just preached out. [laughter] i feel that jerry always says i could not have done this without you. i feel like a funnel at best for his preaching. that is the way the book works. >> how long? >> not long shockingly. in actual number? maybe four or six months? but that is not including editing and everything else
but that is not six months of every day werke there but that is over a span of that time. >> we had a draft after about four months. [laughter] >> about six months. the kind of thing that you hear and see now with a q&a session, the same sort of thing. >> was therapeutic. from the very beginning i had this idea i could put these words on paper you could spell check or something like that. that did not last very long at all. it was so obvious i remember one of the first times i sent 10,000 words and he sent back for a thousand words than 50 questions it
is so obvious i don't know what i am doing. overtime when we got in to communicating with skype i cannot tell you how therapeutic that was. everybody should write a book even if you don't have a book deal, write the book of your life because it was so incredibly therapeutic i felt sorry because i would be crying. [laughter] he would say it is okay. take your time. [laughter] >> did you have the vision? >> would things be different if we had a longer time to write the book? i don't think so. i think the structure of the
books the way everything played out is pretty much how the life went to. this is how i am with everything that i do, i am deeply unhappy with things that i think could be edited in the end or are too long why did they pick that word choice? but i feel that is riders' regret. i actually don't look at any of my books for that reason because i find it upsetting in all ec is what i don't like. so the things i would change? yes. i feel that way about anything i have ever done but i do think the time frame is relevant necessarily. >> we were fortunate i have been on the secular tour for
awhile and i was forced to sink a way through the story. so at the very beginning ethan was just this is insane the timeframe is too short because in the past he had to pull the information with the people he had worked with so that was a big benefit to the story. but it was also very grueling because what do you remember about that? i am too old. this was too long ago. it takes a lot out of you in to relieve relive your entire life which i am thankful that happened. >> i am not trying to out you but how it is different
being the investigator working around these other issues. of course, maybe you go in for the one shot but then you are gone but then you have all of the one-on-one conversations? >> the question is like a comparison of my past experiences how does that compare? the answer is i thought a little bit about it. on one hand it is vastly different on the investigative reporting side i wrote three books about specific crimes and those books were unbelievably difficult put together because i was dealing with
dozens of people to interview, thousands of pages of court documents. people who were very angry with me for contacting them and people wanted to kill me. [laughter] things like that. on the one hand it was different to have a single source then have the single source be available all the time. that made that process remarkably easy by comparison. that is how it is different. my background is not a religion. but what i really like about jerry and his story but how
driven by humanism he is in how unwilling and how he can write off people in his life who had vastly different use in data and struck a deep chord with me in particular after i wrote my last book i became an investigator with the death penalty committee in a weird way i feel the people the idea with are similar. [laughter]
even though your cross the chasm of ideologically hugh i feel that i work with a day to day i encounter some of the most forgiving and loving and unbelievably caring and beautiful people in the world almost on the daily basis with my job yet at the ideological in religious place it a different universe than what i am matt. so with the investigative reporting staff is vastly different but on the other hand, to do criminal investigations or i am just around religious people that i love that gives me that connection.
>> host: but that is thought hardest part of the book but if i had the least favorite that is it because it is the important part is a story that needs to be told but the least flattering of every encounter that i have is very hard to tell both sides of that particular situation. anybody else? >> what is coming to my mind coming from the unitarian church i am attending the episcopal service i like the music and their architecture. i read the book divinity of doubt in daley was the
breast prosecutor in the country only lost to but his book is arguing neither can prove their case. i read a book by rob bell and i cannot remember the title in fact, of a family history of alzheimer's but he is arguing, he starts out that we struggle with the spiritual stuffy and he starts with the material world with modern east -- astronomy and physics the material world is and what we think it is with the subatomic particle --
particles at the same time. so to talk about the 11 dimensions really experience for. i guess what i assaying is how could one say there is no meaning of what we experience with our sense is? it is very disappointing when one concept is disillusioning but does that mean there is no other concept of meaning of life in the universe? >> that is a fair question. i get it all the time because it is such a good
question. i have a little creed that i say that skepticism is my nature. free thought is methodology. agnosticism is my conclusion, and the answer to what you say right there that after to for years of spiritual pursuit, i cannot on the other and agnostic knowing that i don't know. i don't know if i will no. that is my conclusion. then the end of that is a theism is my opinion. then at some time if they can crack quantum physics to a degree that the laser pierces through the left dimension to bounce off the face of god we get a pitcher in jesus then my opinion will change. but until that happens it is an opinion the other fact is
the best and atheist don't commit this from two different directions the fee is make a claim in the the astronauts they simply say i still see your evidence so they're not equal and they are not balanced the atheist says i don't see one. i don't see a god. no one can ever say there is a 12th to mention but we will do our best for what we are experiencing and in showing what we can enjoy obviously they're all different types said atheist based on their personality but if they're going to engage in these discussions they need to become very clear of what the definitions are a and are not after that it is a cultural theme.
argument itself that way you look outside the scope of what they talk about that we completely lose contact with the actual subjects that by in large pate atheist or people if they use the word i don't believe there is a guide it is not in the four victorious the same way people use by faith to except something supernatural instead they say i have an honest with myself and i honestly just don't believe that. it is outside the realm of religious experience but with our bipolar culture in a bipartisan culture the argument will balance between the extremes. >> did with the unitarian.